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The path to business success: Write a book

The path to business success is often one of personal change.

Jacqui Pretty, the founder of The Grammar Factory, did not set out to start a business offering an editing service. Pretty planned to start a copywriting company. There was just one problem with that idea: she quickly discovered she hated copywriting. Despite her background in the publishing sector, she found writing draining.

“What I found difficult was constantly producing new content,” Pretty says. “I could do that on a short term basis, but it was creatively draining to do that constantly. I didn’t want that to be my business.”

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Structure your book without sacrificing creativity

Writing is like running. Authors need to warm up their creative muscles every time they sit down to express themselves. The structure that you apply to your writing process and to communicating your thoughts is the equivalent of the runner’s warm up.

In fact, as I sat down to write this blog, I started in about six different ways – and deleted each one (I can’t believe I still do that after 20 years!). Then I finally asked myself: what am I actually trying to say? I wrote down four key points. Then I looked at the order of them, rearranged them, and here we go.  Read More


How to judge if your book topic has been ‘done to death’?

Could there ever be a productivity book to top Stephen Covey’s international bestseller – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? It seemed impossible until Timothy Ferriss published The Four-Hour Work Week. Done. Until Dermot Crowley published Smart Work. Productivity might have been done to death, but the global appetite for productivity books never dies. We all want help to squeeze more out of our day, to achieve balance, to work smarter. It’s called an ‘evergreen’ topic.  Read More


Is there an “ideal” platform for writing a book?

Distractions are so delicious for book writers. We’d like to read another book to make us more confident. We’d like to buy a new notebook, to get a new laptop, and to hear another author speak. Anything but write our books. Are you with me on this one? And the mother of all distractions is technology. Facebook, email, Instagram, Dr Google. Isn’t ‘surfing the web’ a perfect metaphor – a joyful but ultimately purposeless distraction from getting on with our day.

We face a risk with searching for the ideal platform to write our book that we may end up spending our writing time endlessly surfing instead of actually writing. This post provides a shortcut to your ideal book writing technology platform and that’s the end of that. You have no more excuses but to write, dear writer.  Read More


Is your book finished?

A childhood friend of mine described his journalism cadetship at a major daily – he’d write and submit stories every day by deadline. Every day they would get ‘spiked’. After several months without of his stories being published, things changed. His stories got into the paper. One of the big advantages of working in journalism is learning when your story is finished: It’s when it makes it past your editor. In the modern world of self-publishing, it’s harder to know when to stop writing and rewriting. We are our own gatekeepers; writer, editor and publisher.

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Brexit: A sad failure of followership

It’s hard not to blame Britons for voting themselves into decades of misery and regret with their choice to exit the European Union. The decision looks so clearly divisive, costly and foolish from my vantage point. Already, the downsides are being felt — a 31-year low in the value of the Sterling, and an 18% fall in the value of British banks. More disturbing, outbreaks of racist violence; Scotland determined to leave Britain and join the EU; the passport office inundated with anxious calls.  Read More


How power followers helped Eddie McGuire realise he was wrong (and why content marketers need to know)

We witnessed the impact of power followership play out this week.

It came in the form of a national outcry against powerful men ‘joking’ about drowning women. Specifically, the president of the Collingwood football club, Eddie McGuire, offering to pay $50,000 to anyone who would like to hold Fairfax journalist, Caroline Wilson, underwater in front of a crowd paid $10,000 each to ‘bomb’ her.

How is this power followership?

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How I wrote this week’s blog

With an impending deadline, I set to work developing the idea for this week’s blog by reading a chapter from Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence. Actually, a chapter is a bit of an exaggeration. I was six pages into it when I remembered the conversation I’d had with my family and I thought that is a great example of the risk of being manipulated, which is one of the key risks that weak followers face. With Cialdini’s book open to the chapter, I started my blog by writing about the dinner.   Read More


How ‘Power followers’ avoid being manipulated

Last Sunday, I realised I’d been manipulated. As a ‘power follower’, who is determined to ask questions of our leaders and society no matter how uncomfortable they may be, I got a bit of a shock. Let me explain how easily we can be manipulated.

It happened at a family dinner, over pizza. My brother showed me that there is no such thing as ‘alcohol-fuelled violence’. It was a belief that I had never thought to question. I have always assumed that alcohol does fuel violence. And I am in good company. In Australian society, this is such a widespread belief that it is almost never challenged.  Read More


Become a power follower

In the early 1980s, publishers released an average of three books on leadership a year, writes Barbara Kellerman, in her book The End of Leadership. By the end of the decade, that number had grown to 23. And today? Well, a Google search will scare the pants off you. There are thousands, if not millions.

The underlying assumption about leadership is that it is so important that the success or failure of any organisation depends upon it. There is no evidence to support the view that great leaders create successful organisations, Kellerman tells us.  Read More